A savage indictment of American healthcare
by, January 14th, 2009 at 03:01 PM (7632 Views)
I don't mean to sound "peevish" or "petulant" here, I don't want to throw a "hissy fit" or "spaz out" or "go off half-cocked", but as regular visitors to this vlog perhaps have picked up through careful scrutiny of my words and images, I have been feeling less than optimal since last Friday.
Enough is enough.
It is time to take a flamethrower to the American healthcare system for letting this discomfort linger so long .
To briefly recap: It all began with a certain insidious je ne sais quoi change in the normal malaise/fatigue I have long accepted as the cost of being me in an animated state. I tried to shrug this change off as imaginary. But no sooner had I begun the pep talk we hypochondriacs give ourselves than my throat became irrefutably scratchy, and within hours, I found myself hard pressed to swallow the suddenly copious post nasal drip that arrived to torment me!
To paraphrase Blake, Did He who made the Lamb make drip? To paraphrase Darwin: Nature, red in tooth and claw and throat.
By Saturday, the malady had burgeoned into a full-fledged cold, though there was nothing "common" about my bout with it. I awoke yesterday with a prominent finger pustule that itched like mad, followed later in the day by a second prominent pustule, this one on my abdomen, that also itched like mad and resembled nothing short of a girlish breast bud with surrounding pinkened aureole.
To the Google I beat a hasty retreat, only to find that such dermatological symptoms have no shortage of possible explanations. Thanks to online research and the contributions of doctor friends like our very own Kurt Dickson and Heather Rietz, an emergency specialist and a pathologist respectively, plus the husband of an infectious disease specialist in Sacramento who offered his opinion, plus various swimmers who have had their own strange skin eruptions, the following have all been proposed as likely candidates:
- herpetic whitlow http://images.google.com/images?q=he...num=4&ct=title
- Dyshidrosis ttp://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Fileyshidrosis.JPG
- Boils http://www.medicinenet.com/script/ma...ticlekey=91844
- Hives http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/hives.html
- MRSA http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/mrs...CTION=symptoms
- Lyme Disease http://www.lyme.org/otherdis/ld_symptoms.html
- Psychosomatic Spiritual Crisis http://220.127.116.11/search?q=cache:XoCrbgqf48IJ:www.mindspring.com/~berks-healing/mental%2520illness%2520and%2520spiritual%2520crisi s.pdf+psychomatic+spiritual+crisis&hl=en&ct=clnk&c d=6&gl=us&client=firefox-a
These, of course, are just the most preliminary of "scratching the surface" possibilities; I am certain that an entire season of House episodes could be devoted to my finger, and the enraptured audience would still be faced with a cliff-hanger season finale, to be continued for years to come.
Meanwhile, the clock continues to tick, tock, tick, tock. It is now Wednesday. The 1-hour postal meet starts on Sunday morning at the Carnegie Mellon University pool at 9 a.m. At another pool an hour away, our local YMCA masters meet begins at 11 a.m. for warm ups (though I think perhaps I will be able to skip this, given the hour swim), with the first events beginning promptly at noon.
This morning, I called "my" doctor, that is to say, the one fellow I have gone to once in the last seven years. I got an answering machine. The message was complex, and it is possible that the herpetic whiteout has migrated to my ears, but before I knew it, there was a beep, and I was unsure what I was supposed to do, so I panicked and hung up.
Next I tried a dermatologist, whose receptionist said, "Sounds like a virus. You probably need an antibiotic." When I told her that antibiotics don't work on viruses, I could feel her enmity over the phone line. She told me the doctor might be able to see me in February. I hung up.
Next I tried my son's pediatrician, who was out doing hospice care and perhaps getting more supplies for the in-office Spa that she uses to supplement her medical income.
I got an answering machine, left a message, got a call back from another receptionist, and have emailed her a picture of my finger. Interested viewers can see it here:
(Note: if you want to print this out and post it on your refrigerator as an adjunct to any weight loss regimen, I would be honored to assist in your appetite loss!)
In closing, I would very much like to thank the kindly Dr. Dickson, the equally kindly former patient Tom Patterson, and the beautiful Dr. Heather "where have you been putting that finger" Rietz for their free suggestions.
As for the rest of our national disgrace of a healthcare system, I am taking up a collection to buy one of these: